All posts by reneeinnd

The March of the Policy Makers

I am attending a conference in my role as a member of a regulatory board.  The focus of the conference is professional competency, mobility in employment, and international standards in ethics and professional conduct. These are quite important topics when you have to consider how to evaluate foreign trained professionals for licensure in your jurisdiction,  but my is it boring to listen to for 4 days.  When it gets too tedious I surreptitiously check my email or the Trail,  imagine everyone in weird hats, or else marching around to this Elgar Pomp and Circumstance March I Heard on MPR before I Ieft home.  I see others seated around me doing similar things, so I don’t think I am the only one who needs some stimulation.

Tell about how you handle boredom.  What is the most boring, tedious thing you ever had to do? What is your favorite march?

Unexpected Encounters

I was shopping at Walmart the other day when I turned my cart into the baking supplies aisle and encountered a strange scene. A young female Walmart employee  was on her hands and knees, weeping, as she peered under the shelving.  Two other employees were also peering under the shelving. One explained that the weeping woman was stocking the shelves when her wedding ring flew off her finger and settled somewhere on the floor in the dark recesses under the baking supplies.  It caused quite a bottleneck in the aisle, but shoppers were very understanding and respectful and we all wished them luck in their search.

The next day I was back again in Walmart, this time in the dairy aisle, when I encountered the formerly weeping employee busily restocking the sour cream. I saw that she had no ring on, and stopped to ask her if she had found her ring. She explained happily that she had, under the pallets of sugar, and that she no longer wore her ring to work. I told her I was very happy for her. Then, unexpectedly, she asked if she could give me a hug.  I, of course said yes, and we embraced in front of all the pudding and sour cream and chip dip.

I treasure these sort of encounters. I work with people all day, but it is somewhat artificial, with a power differential that is always there.  Unexpected interactions with people when we are both just people are so nice.

When is it easy for you to be with people? When is hard? Tell about some fun, unexpected encounters with people. 

Traditions?

For a variety of reasons I was contemplating  the tradition of Hobo Days at South Dakota State University.  It has been going on since 1912, apparently, and involves festivities in conjunction with Homecoming.  There are parades and contests, such as the six month competitions for beard growing (for the men) and leg-hair growing (for the women), a parade featuring a 1912 Ford, and people dressed up like Hobos (mainly the men) and “Hippie Chicks” (mainly the women). The women used to dress up like “Indian Maidens”.  That was eventually deemed offensive, so the women were recast as Hippies.  I wonder how former Hippie women feel about it?

I believe that university staff look on the tradition with mixed feelings. It certainly promotes school spirit and cohesiveness. It is also a time of heavy drinking and all the problems that brings, and also glorifies homelessness.

I think I am pretty anti-tradition when it comes to festivities like Hobo Days, but I must admit changes to my comforting and familiar  Lutheran liturgy are upsetting.  Change is hard. Finding new traditions isn’t easy.

What traditions do you cling to? What traditions would you like to see end? What new traditions would you like to see?

Self Regulation

Last March I went to the doctor for my annual checkup and he informed me that my cholesterol  and blood sugar levels were too high. He asked me to come back in six months for a recheck.   I spent the summer working in the garden and changing my diet only a little. I  went back to  the doctor in September, and he said my cholesterol had dropped 50 points to a normal level, and my blood sugar was in the normal range.  I was surprised as well as dismayed, since that meant that I had to maintain my current level of activity and continue to watch my food intake.

The elevators at my work have been out of commission for three weeks, and won’t be in operation for another two weeks.  I work on the 4th floor of my building. I know that I will need to continue to walk the stairs all winter once the elevator is repaired.  I hate to exercise, but I hate the thought of poor health even more.

How do you motivate yourself for good health choices?  What should you do for better health, and how will you accomplish it?  How do you maintain your health?

Death in a Jar of Salsa

I gave one of the nurses at my office a about 40 lbs. of tomatoes this year, since she wanted to make salsa. We had an abundance and I was glad to get rid of them. She said she got other tomatoes, too, and canned 60 jars of salsa. She gave me a jar earlier this week, and it was all I could do to smile and thank her when she handed it to me.  Once I got up to my floor, I flushed it down the toilet.

Perhaps I am overly cautious, but I would never can and process anything in a used Hormel ham hock jar using the original cap.  She hadn’t even removed the ham hock label.  I know that salsa has lots of acid in it from the vinegar, and that her salsa will probably be fine, but, still, this person is a nurse and there are some basic rules of hygienic food preservation that you just never violate. There was a story in the Fargo Forum a few years back about some well meaning woman in the eastern part of the state who invited people for Sunday dinner, fed them home canned peas, and killed half of the guests with botulism.  Those stories  stick with a person who does any home canning.

Tell about some gifts you would have rather not received.  Got any canning or food preservation disasters or horror stories? Am I being alarmist?

Cheap Dates

I read this in the local paper yesterday:

According to an article from USA Today based on findings from 24/7 Wall St., North Dakotans are the second-cheapest date in the U.S.

The recent report found the average date cost for each state, including a bottle of wine, two movie tickets and a restaurant dinner for two. North Dakota had the second-lowest average of $42.43, bested only by South Dakota at $38.27.

Minnesota, meanwhile, had the nation’s 23rd-highest date night cost of $109.81, while New York topped the list at $297.27.

Well, I guess there are some advantages living out here!   The article goes on to make suggestions for one of a kind, cheap excursions like going to the Minnesota State-Moorhead planetarium,  corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and an adult only Halloween party at the Red River Zoo in Fargo including a  costume contest, concessions, dance party, a cash bar and zookeeper talks with critters ($10 for advance tickets).

Think up a cheap date excursion in your vicinity. Tell about some memorable dates from your past. 

 

Disaster

October 8 was the anniversary of three terrible fires in 1871-The Great Chicago Fire, the Peshtigo Fire, and the Port Huron Fire.  There were other, smaller fires  in the region that raged the same day as well.  It was dry in the Wisconsin/Michigan lumber regions, and the conditions were just right for a perfect storm of fires.  Thousands of people died. Some posit that meteorites from a passing comet may have started the fires, but that seems unlikely.  Small fires used to clear land, as well as very dry conditions and a very windy cold front that blew through, are probably the causes.

Once, out here on Halloween about 15 years ago we had a terrible range fire in the two counties just north of us. Warm and drought conditions during the fall had left the pastures very dry. On Halloween, a very windy cold front came through and, somehow a fire started and hundreds of acres and cattle were lost.  It was terrible, but not as terrible as the fires of 1871.  I can hardly imagine what it must have been like.

A friend of mine is obsessed with the Titanic Disaster.  She even went on the 100th anniversary commemorative cruise out of England and had period costumes sewn for the occasion. She knows everything there is to know about the Titanic.  I only like hearing about disasters if there is a happy ending to the story, which there rarely is, although I must admit I spent a good chunk of my adolescence reading about the Black Death.

What disasters have you experienced. Which famous disasters fascinate you?